You Only Live Once

“Mary, I think you ought to sleep with my husband.”

The sluggish overhead fan had completed quite a few
revolutions in the humid tropical air before Mary’s synapses
could fully cope with that one. She became aware that her
jaw was sagging, and that her copy of Time magazine had
slipped from her grasp. She had been in the middle of the
cover story, “Nixon re-elected!”, when Virginia Allen had
dropped her bombshell.

They were the only two teachers left in the staffroom, as they
had a free period directly after the lunchbreak. Outside,
pupils taking a PE class seemed to shimmer in the heat
coming off the playing field. Mad Englishmen in the
noonday sun.

“And why do you think that?” was the best reply she could
muster.

“He asked me to ask you. He thinks you are spunky.”

It was a while since anyone had called her spunky. And why
should they? She was married to a high school science
teacher and had three young children. In fact, this was her
first year back at work since completing her certification year
after training college. They had started a family right away,
having married just after John’s graduation. Those were the
days when breeding was considered virtually automatic once
the knot had been tied, and they never stopped to consider
that they had any other option.

But take Virginia. *She* was spunky. Five years younger,
childless, a tall, big-boned red-head. And she had boobs. A
fine handsome woman by anyone’s reckoning. What would
her husband want with Mary?

“Um … really? Me?”

“Yes, you! Derek has a thing about brunettes. And you are
quite huggable and squeezable, you know.”

Mary’s surprise was starting to turn to shock. This
conversation was real, it was happening, she didn’t *think*
she was dreaming any of it. She was very straight-
laced. And hadn’t found sex to be any kind of big deal. Why
did people make such a fuss about it? When she saw the
weird and innappropriate behaviour of some of the ex-
patriates in this colonial backwater, sex was usually at the
bottom of it. Why did it drive people so? There must be
something she was missing.

“You don’t have a problem with people sleeping with your
husband?”

“Not if he asks me first, and I give the okay.”

Mary didn’t know what to say, but thought to herself, “How
very … liberated!”

Although there was only five years between them, it was
really an inter-generational gulf. Virginia had been part of
that Summer of Love thing the magazines often used to write
about. As soon as Mary had become a mother she no longer
bothered with cultural trends, not since the time when Neil
Sedaka was hot news and a certain moptop quartet from
Liverpool was only just beginning to sell records by the
truckload.

“I … I really don’t think so, Ginny.”

Virginia patted her on the knee.

“Have a think about it. We re-locate back to Australia in a
month, so you could just sleep with him once and then we’re
gone. No possibility of awkward recriminations.”

She gathered her things and stood to go.

“Time for Art and Craft, and I have to look after Suzie’s class
as well.”

Susan Fletcher had a vicious alcohol habit that often caused a
dereliction of her duties. Something had to be done about it;
the other staff couldn’t go on carrying her teaching load
forever.

Virginia went, leaving Mary still stunned. She gazed out the
window again, past the kids taking PE, staring unseeingly
across the road, beyond rusty old iron quonset huts built by
the Americans during the war, coconut trees, to the sparkling
blue sea beyond.

This was a weird bunch of people over here. Colonial
Service misfits, who either drank themselves stupid or fucked
themselves stupid. Or both. Petty officials recently evicted
by the independence movements in Tanzania and Kenya, but
who couldn’t face going back home.

Or the other clique, idealistic adventurers looking to expand
their horizons through travel, and do their bit for the third
world. For many it was their first experience of being a
white minority in an almost entirely black country. Not
that it brought much hardship in those days. They were part
of the elite, looked up to by the locals. Mutterings about
independence and localisation and the shackles of colonialism
were only just beginning in the capital. People in the outer
islands were practically stoneage, often still pagan. Power
politics came second to high infant mortality and a life
expectancy of about forty-five, in *their* analysis of the
issues of the day.

Mary would have put herself and Virginia into the “adventurer”
category. And up until this moment, she had regarded Virginia
as one of the more normal of her acquaintances. Being pretty
square, she was almost offended by Ginny’s blunt proposition.

Almost … but not quite.

There tickled within her a faint pinprick of fascination with
the very idea of it. Sure, she got fascinated by horror movies
too. But there were one or two braincells inside her (albeit
heavily outnumbered) that seemed to view this particular
“problem” more as “opportunity”.

And hey! What girl *doesn’t* like hearing herself being
described as “spunky”?

But she couldn’t. It really was out of the question. She was
married, fer chrissakes! With three kids, aged ten, eight and
five. John, now a Head of Department for the first time, was
having a ball in this tropical paradise with the small sailing
boat he had just finished building.

She had only ever known one man. And that was the way it
was supposed to be.

Wasn’t it?

PAUSE (one of Celeste’s pauses), and REWIND

“Come on, Hazel! We’ll be late for Mass.”

Her step-sister was taking far too long about getting back
into her black serge tunic, and was still fiddling about with
the buttons of her white blouse. Why did the St Theresa’s
uniforms have to be so labour-intensive? Cold fingers in
wintertime were hard pressed to cope.

They were the last ones out of the changing sheds after the
swimming class. It was the only time during school hours
when it was okay for their skinny limbs and flat chests to be
on show. And probably only because the icy cold water was
supposed to be good for their character. The nuns were
strict about modesty. “Bold girl!”, they would say to anyone
who dared to leave a couple of top buttons undone.

But Hazel was in no hurry. She was in deep shit already.

There’d been the small matter of a three-shilling discrepancy
when she’d returned with the staff lunch orders that day. If
it had happened to Mary, the presumption would be that she’d
got diddled by that unscrupulous shop-keeper. But Hazel
would have pocketed it herself, in their estimation. The
telephone message by now would already have been relayed
by Sister Rosemary to their mother. Who would tell their
stepfather when he got home that night from work. Who
would then give Hazel a hiding. The bruises were still there
from the last one.

Mary also got hidings, but not with the frequency of Hazel’s.

Still, if they could get to Mass on time, they would have
another hour in which to pray about it. And if they didn’t
get there on time, then Mary would be getting a hiding too.

Bad blood.

Whenever Hazel screwed up, their parents always spoke of
bad blood.

Hazel had been adopted. Mary’s mother was a war widow;
in fact Mary never saw her father, as he was already on
active service abroad when she was born. His grave was
somewhere in France. Well-meaning relatives said another
child should be adopted, to be a playmate. Enter Hazel,
same age as Mary. A series of foster homes had already left
their indelible mark. Hazel trusted no one, and didn’t feel
that she owed anything to anybody. But circumstances made
the two of them close. Her escapades would get both of
them in trouble, and their shared beatings bonded them in
adversity.

And post-war, their mother remarried and had another five
kids. Go figure!

PAUSE, and FAST-FORWARD.

The Ford Prefect was rocking quite insistently now. From
the front seat, looking straight ahead through the
spray-spattered windscreen at the dismal grey seascape
beyond the parking bay, Mary said;

“Hazel, what are you doing now!”

Some gasping noises, and the rocking didn’t slacken.

“Keep quiet, and look front!”

Hazel sounded muffled and out of breath. And strangely her
voice was coming from somewhere well down behind the
front benchseat of the Ford.

She should never have agreed to come along on this drive
with Hazel and Tom Winters. But Hazel had begged her to,
knowing that she wasn’t allowed to move a muscle these
days without Mary as a chaperone. If Mary had arrived
home from school without Hazel in tow, there would have
been big trouble.

Practicing strict self-censorship, Mary kept her eyes straight
ahead. She didn’t dare look back, not knowing what she
would see if she did. It sounded serious, all these animal
noises from the back seat. Suckings, and slurpings, and soft
moans. She turned on the radio to drown it out. Frankie
Avalon was in mid-croon.

Hazel had a protruding clit. And Mary didn’t. Except she
didn’t know it was called a clit. No one had ever called it
anything in her presence. Such things were not discussed in
their household. But she had seen Hazel’s. When they were
younger they often shared the same bath. It was big and
pink. The clit, that is; not the bath. It poked well out from
the tent-like fleshy hood that stretched around it, and was the
most prominent feature of Hazel’s pussy landscape. Even
when she got her fanny hair, you could still see it.

Mary had to poke around a bit before she could find her own
clit. She had done it in private. Getting caught playing with
her genitals would have seen her put on a diet of bread and
water for a month. But she had to try and find it. She
couldn’t understand why hers was tucked so out of sight,
while Hazel’s could be seen practically any time she was
knickerless.

Could it explain why Hazel liked boys? And why boys liked
Hazel? The girl was a boy magnet. Not just any old boy.
Boys with cars, too!

Mary, on the other hand, was a wall-flower. The few times
they were allowed to go to dances, no one had ever asked
her to dance. Yet she was not *too* bad looking. But she
often risked getting trampled by the rush of boys wanting to
ask Hazel to dance. Hazel seemed to exude that certain
something, that je ne sais qoi, that caused boys to get lumps
in their throat and lumps in their trousers.

“It’s getting late. We really should be going home.”

Now it was Pat Boone’s job to drown out the groans from
the back seat, but he lacked the rhythm to blend in well with
the car’s joggling. You would have needed Chuck Berry for
that. And Chuck Berry was considered far too radical for
any airplay in this here town.

If Hazel and Tom were really doing what she thought they
were doing, it was hard to imagine how they could manage
it. We are talking English Ford here, not American Ford.
Designed for English lanes and colonial “roads”, the Pride of
Dagenham was built small, light, easier to lift up out of bogs
and ditches. But despite the lack of elbow room and knee
room, in this country there was many a cherry got popped on
the back seat of a Ford Prefect.

PAUSE and FAST-FORWARD again

John had practically been chosen for Mary, by her step-
father. Well, not specifically chosen. But he was one of
a bunch that had passed an initial screening process.

Mary had been nagging her parents that she didn’t know any
boys, she wanted to get to know some boys, could they
*please* fix it for her so she could meet some boys. Putting
her head into the lion’s mouth, you might think. But her
step-dad actually had a bit of a soft spot for her. And her
parents thought it best that they engineer the boy-meeting
process themselves, since it was probably going to be
inevitable. They didn’t want her to turn out like Hazel, who
seemed to attract completely the wrong sort as if she were a
dog on heat.

It was decided that they would hold a teenage party. Mary’s
step-dad coached a sports team of lads about Mary’s age, and
he hand-picked some of his charges to come and attend the
party. John was one of them.

The party itself was pretty boring. Tightly supervised, music
kept low, rug-rat brothers and sisters performing
unspeakably embarrassing acts of disobedience.

And John didn’t really stand out from the bunch. There was
another boy she found much dishier. But by the time the
night was through, it was John who had murmured an
invitation for her to go with him to a dance the following
week.

A date! A real, live date!

He came to get her at the appointed time, and they walked
the two or so miles down to the Community Hall. Hazel
could get guys who had cars, but Mary would have to walk.
John seemed pleasant enough, and very sweet. But he
promptly abandoned her at the hall while he went and talked
to his sports-team buddies. It seemed an eternity before he
retrieved her again. She put it down to first date nerves.

The dance itself was fairly uneventful, though it gave her a
chance to find out more about him. Like her, he was a bit of
a reject. Well, different, anyway. His father was general
manager of a small factory; plastics, or something. Socially,
they considered themselves a cut above. His elder brother
was in business, having been given a generous start by the
old man. His sister was married to a businessman, a bit
dense but old money so in their view she had “married well”.
John wanted to be a scientist, so was definitely a square peg
in a round hole. It did not fit into their image at all. He
got absolutely no support from them for this vocation, finan-
cial or otherwise, but he was determined to stick it out.

He walked her home. Soon would come The Kiss. And,
hopefully, a request to see her again.

She had already decided in advance that if he slipped her any
tongue, then she definitely wouldn’t see him again.
French-kissing on a first date would be too forward for
words.

Fortunately, he didn’t slip her any tongue.

On such simple little things our fate is often decided.

PAUSE and SLOW-FORWARD

Inevitably, Hazel got pregnant.

The nuns held a Council of War with her parents, and next
thing she was sent away to a Home for Wayward Girls.
There she was taught useful life-skills like how to sew
buttonholes and darn socks, until the baby arrived. It was
immediately put up for adoption, and a job was found for
Hazel in a garment factory.

As soon as she had saved up enough money for a one-way
ticket, Hazel hopped on a plane to Australia. Her life there
became a string of menial jobs and unhappy relationships.
She never once wrote or called. It was to be another twenty
years before Mary ever saw her again.

Meanwhile, Mary and John were going steady. He had
become besotted with her. She had become accepting of
him, more or less by default. He was now at University
doing his Bachelors degree, and she had begun her teacher
training.

She didn’t really want to be a primary school teacher, but
her grades had limited her choices somewhat. She was no
Einstein anyway, and it was almost impossible to get much
study done in that madhouse she called a home. Her
younger siblings all needed looking after, and she was
expected to do much of it. Her mother had kind-of given up
after the twin boys arrived on the scene.

When it all got a bit too much for her, she would phone John
and sob, “Take me away from it all!” He would put aside his
textbooks, venture out into the cold night air, buy a
newspaper-wrapped serving of hot fish and chips, and meet
her at the bus stop about halfway between their homes.
Sitting there wrapped up in heavy coats, he would hold her
hand and restore her sanity for another few hours.

They intended to get married as soon as he graduated. And
then put a large tract of water between themselves and their
families.

It was funny when they had announced their engagement.
John’s father came up to Mary’s house, all primed by John’s
mother to give a speech. He was taken into the front room
by Mary’s step-dad, whereupon he delivered the speech.

He did not approve of any uniting of their respective Houses.
As far as he was concerned, Mary was from the wrong side
of the tracks. She was second-generation Irish immigrant,
and a Catholic, whose father worked in the railways. No
son of theirs was going to marry into such a white-trash
family.

Mary’s step-dad said he agreed wholeheartedly. He was no
fan of the match either. He hadn’t wanted John to team up
with her at all. It was another boy among the initial selection
that he had wanted her to start seeing. And no way did he
want to become related to a capitalist-bourgois Anglo-Saxon
Protestant sassenach like John’s dad.

That done and honour satisfied, they cracked open a bottle of
whiskey and spent the next three hours yarning convivially
about sports.

The wedding took place the week following John’s graduation
with a BSc in Chemistry. It was a small affair, though far
too big for John’s liking, as he wanted to keep as much money
in reserve as he could for their new life together. Having
entirely paid his own way through University, he had become
paranoid about money.

Mary was a virgin on her wedding night. During their
courtship they had done a certain amount of slap and tickle,
but no penetration. He’d wanted to, but she had a morbid
fear of getting pregnant. Look at what had happened to
Hazel. Mary didn’t want to be whisked away in the dead of
the night like that, and be only spoken of in hushed tones for
ever after.

Sex was a disappointment. Neither of them had a clue. It
was painful for her at first, and his preparation of her was
usually minimal. As time went by he got better, but he only
ever used his fingers on her. If they knew about oral sex at
all, it was only that it was for nasty people. After a while
the sex was not unpleasant and good for the feeling it
engendered of intimacy and closeness, but she never came.
She got pregnant within the first year, stopped working and
became a full-time home maker for the next decade.

John felt stifled in his job. Holding a junior science position
at an austere and conservative boarding school for boys, he
knew what was needed for advancement but couldn’t bring
himself to do it. The general idea was you had to stay in the
same institution for forty years, drink beer with the principal
on Friday nights, play golf with him on Sundays, and if you
were of the right stuff you could eventually become a Head
of Department, a Deputy Principal, and so on.

John thought that such brown-nosing was for the birds. And
he didn’t agree with half of the school rules that he was
meant to enforce. So he opted for adventure rather than
status, and started applying for teaching jobs in various
islands of the South Pacific.

STOP and PLAY

“Penny for your thoughts!”

Mary snapped out of her reverie at once. No way could she
tell John *that* particular thought! Standing at the kitchen
bench slicing chuck steak for a pot of stew, she had found
herself gazing at the lush jungle vista from their kitchen
window, going over Virginia’s propositon in her mind.

“No, it’s nothing” she lied. “Call the kids, I want them all
washed and ready for tea soon.”

Coming here had been great for the kids. They seemed to
spend most of their time running around in the jungle behind
the staff quarters, playing cowboys and indians and
committing God knows what acts of mayhem with the
children of other staff members or from the village nearby.
Sometimes she worried; after all, in this place they had real
poisonous snakes, and scorpions, and centipedes and
things. On the other hand, they had become so capable, and
seemed aware of all the dangers. She couldn’t keep them
housebound all the time.

Her thoughts came back to Virginia’s husband, Derek. He
was reasonably handsome, better-looking than John, though
starting to develop a bit of a beer belly. He was quite
charming, from the contact they’d had so far. No obvious
social defects. She still couldn’t quite believe Virginia’s
claim that he had a yen for her. Wonder what he’s like
as a lover?

These days John was tending to piss her off. Things she had
taken for granted in their relationship, she was now inclined
to question. His tight grip on the family cheque book, for
instance. When they argued, it was usually about money.
He’d always been the breadwinner, and this was her first year
of real work now that her youngest was school-age. She’d
been accustomed to John calling the shots about how income
was disposed of when it was entirely his income. But she felt
she wanted to have a bit more say, now.

And he patronised her in conversation. They would have
people around for tea, or barbecues, and he always had to
hold the floor. He seemed to have an opinion on just about
everything, and loved verbal jousting just for the sake of it.
Okay, so he was the intellectual and knew stuff that she
didn’t, but she liked to have a chance to speak too, you
know. Starting work again was rebuilding her self-
confidence. People at the primary school were willing to
accept her for who she was, rather than just as an appendage
of John.

But he didn’t seem to get it.

At least once a month now they would have a blazing row,
which the children found very upsetting. Sometimes it got
physical, when she would try to hurt him in some way, just to
try and get through to him. Pinches, punches, thrown
objects. Stuff that was normal to her during her childhood,
but her own kids had not been exposed to that before.

And their sex was still pretty ordinary.

The end of the school year was coming up. Part of his job
at the Government boarding school was to supervise students
during their return by inter-island ship to their villages
for the vacation. He would return in about two weeks time,
leaving the students to begin the back-breaking task of
cutting enough copra to pay their own school fees for the
next academic year.

Mary had gone with him the first time, but never again!
Everyone had to sleep on the heaving deck, and her lasting
impression was of sea sickness, the smell of pigs and
chickens, diesel oil, and no proper toilet facilities.
She was not planning on going this time.

This would be a window of opportunity, said those brain
cells who saw her “problem” as “opportunity”. More and
more braincells had been coming over to that way of
thinking. “You only live once!” they kept murmuring. A
referendum of brain cells could now could go either way.

You only live once …

The kids wanted to go to the Patterson’s for a “Midnight
Feast”. The Patterson kids were very English, and spent
much of their waking moments reading books by Enid
Blyton. “Midnight Feasts” seemed to feature prominently in
these stories about the Secret Seven, Famous Five, and so
on. In common parlance, it meant the kids wanted to sleep
over, and be allowed to go to bed very late.

With John away and kids out of the house for an entire
weekend, it meant that the coast would be clear.

You only live once …

She wasn’t sure how to approach Virginia, though. What if
Ginny burst out laughing, said she was only joking, had just
wanted to see what Mary’s reaction would be? It would be
so humiliating.

Next day they were on playground duty together.

“So … does your husband still think I am spunky?”

“Ooh Mary! You’ve been giving it some thought!”

“Well, it’s hard to drive a revelation like that out of your
mind.”

“Our place or yours?”

“Hey! I haven’t said Yes!”

“You must be about to, or you wouldn’t have raised the
subject.”

“All right then! My place.”

“Can I come, too?”

“GINNY!!!”

Now Mary really was shocked. The idea of borrowing
Ginny’s husband was already beyond the pale. Having Ginny
watch them at it was simply debauched! Besides, it would
evoke unpleasant memories of Ford Prefects.

Ginny realised she’d over-stepped the mark, and moved
swiftly to retrieve the situation.

“Fine! Whatever you are comfortable with.”

She gave Mary’s arm a squeeze.

“You won’t regret it. He’s quite good, though I say so
myself.”

Saturday. By now John was bobbing up and down
somewhere on the briny deep, and the kids had been dropped
off at Pattersons. She had all of Saturday afternoon to get
ready for her guest. She thoroughly spring-cleaned the
bedroom. Got a posh dress ready, and her best knickers.
Located their one bottle of whiskey in case some extra
confidence was needed. Prepared a few snacks, as he
might want to munch on something else before he munched
on her.

Darkness had fallen (kla-donk!) when the Allen’s rusty old
jeep pulled up into the drive way. He was well scrubbed up,
too. Long pants and a Hawaian shirt, beard neatly trimmed.
He had a bunch of flowers. The same kinds of flowers she
could easily have picked in her own garden, but hey, nice
touch! He brushed her cheek with his lips, and she led him
to the cool verandah to sit and see what witty repartee he
could come up with.

“Good to see you, Mary, and I must say you do look lovely
tonight.”

A good start, she thought.

“Orange juice? Or whiskey?” she asked.

She hoped he wouldn’t say beer, because she didn’t have any.

“Whiskey and water would be great.”

She did one for him and one for her, and directed his
attention to a tray of nibbles. She sat, and drew a deep
breath, inhaling the thick, heavy smells of the tropical
night; the sweet scent of flowers combined with musty earth
still damp from the downpour earlier that afternoon.

“So … Ginny says you think I am spunky.”

“Oh yes! I’ve thought so for quite some time.”

“Do you often have your wife procure women for you that
you think are spunky?”

“Not all that often. But I fancy you something rotten, and
since we leave very soon I thought, well, its now or never!”

“I can’t believe that Ginny doesn’t mind you carrying on like
this!”

“This is nothing. We were living on a commune back in
Australia. Half the time nobody knew whose kids were
whose. Ginny and I don’t feel permanently attached; in fact
we only got married so that we could qualify for the
bigger-size married quarters over here.”

Mary found this all quite mind-blowing. I mean, she had
read about communes and such, but not come face to face
with any practioners of that lifestyle.

“So you don’t care about the fact that I am married?”

“No, not really. As long as John won’t come and shoot me,
or anything silly like that.”

“Well, he might! But he is not to find out. And don’t you
want to know why I am doing this?”

“Presumably because you are fond of good sex.”

Hmmm, flattering himself already. Well, that remained to be
seen.

“Actually, its because I don’t know if I am fond of sex, or
not.”

He was quiet for as bit, probably considering how to handle
that one sensitively.

“Oh.”

“You mean … John doesn’t, how should I put it, light your
fire?”

Though not familiar with the music of The Doors, Mary
knew what he was driving at.

“Well, I don’t know, I mean, what’s supposed to happen?”

“If it had happened, you would know.”

They lapsed into silence, gazing out at the hibiscus hedge,
listening to the crickets chirping, seeing the occasional firefly
go past. This assignment would be tougher than he thought,
but he was up to a challenge.

He spoke up first.

“Shall we?”

“Lets.”

They went inside to the darkness of the bedroom.

He put his hands on her waist, bent forward and kissed her
chastely upon the lips. He smelled good. Half the time you
had to remind John to go and brush his teeth first. Another
kiss, that lingered longer this time. No tongue yet, though.

His hands started wandering. Gliding up her sides, narrowly
missing her bra-less breasts under the long cotton frock she
wore. His kisses radiated outward across her cheeks, and
along her neck under her ear, his soft dry lips gently brushing
her skin.

It was hard to believe this was really happening. Familiar
surroundings, but a strange man. It was like a dream.

He was running his hands across her backside now. An
unfamiliar touch, but pleasant all the same. He was gently
biting into the top of her shoulder, and licking up to her
earlobe. Then he brought his hands up onto her breasts for
the first time.

She had a moderately-sized handful to offer in that
department, with big nipples. He seemed to like what he
found, because he spent a fair while stroking and
teasing through her dress with light caresses, while his
lips found hers again.

“Can I take your dress off?”

She was not averse to the idea. He unzipped her and she
raised her arms while he pulled everything off over her head.

At once his mouth pounced upon her chest, licking and
sucking, while fingertips traced down over her tummy roll
and lightly touched her pubic mound. All very nice, but she
wanted to see what he looked like. She started tugging at his
clothing, and he stepped back to get everything off.

Not bad, a bit paunchy but generally more athletic than John.
His … thing, already erect, looked to be much the same size.

She got on the bed and he came and lay beside her. More
kissing of breasts and sucking of nipples, while his fingers
toyed with her mound through her panties. She grasped his
… cock, or whatever, and held it awhile, feeling it twitch
every so often.

Hello! He was on the move. Sliding down lower, tongue
licking across her stomach, tarrying awhile around her navel,
but its intention was clear.

John had never done that. He could finger-fuck with the best
of them, but had never got his face down below. Mind you,
she hadn’t asked him to. She had just assumed all
along that it would gross him out. It had always been
ingrained in her to think of that part of her anatomy as
“dirty” and untouchable.

He was tugging her panties down, exposing all of her. She
lifted up her bum to help him, and next her legs were being
pushed apart and his beard was tickling her inner thighs.
Derek had clearly been ingrained differently. She was a little
nervous, but, oh well … if he insisted!

Little dabs of tongue up either side, then he was delicately
swirling over the summit of her mound. Her clit, as usual,
was well hidden. A fact he did not seem to appreciate. He
kept up his tongue action for quite some time, and all though
it felt nice and erotic, she didn’t feel that it was really
leading anywhere. She lay quite still, concentrating hard,
trying to make the most of the sensations he was providing.

He found her stillness a bit unnerving. Finally, tongue-
fatigue setting in, he pulled away.

“You’re supposed to be going crazy by now!”

Am I just! She felt slighted by that remark.

He was up over her now, licking her breasts again. He
seemed to really like her breasts, especially the nipples. She
recalled that Ginny had big breasts, but small nipples. He
must like something he can really get his lips around, she
couldn’t help speculating.

“Play with me, get me hard.”

He directed her hand onto his … well, you know.

She tugged on it gently, doing what she did to John when he
wanted that extra few p.s.i. of turgor pressure. His fingers
tested her opening and, finding it still wet from his
tongue-lashing, decided to plunge in.

Her overwhelming thought at that moment was a fear that
she might fart. It happened sometimes, if John used the
wrong angle. And that was okay, that was only John. They
were accustomed to each other farting in bed. This was
different; Derek may not see the funny side of it.

But she didn’t fart, and he soon set up a steady rhythm,
gathering her legs up to wrap around his bum while he buried
his face in the side of her neck. Again, it felt nice. As
nice as anything she had ever done with John. But no fire-
works or explosions. The surf did not crash, the molten
larva all stayed safely stowed in its volcano.

He was enjoying himself, anyway. His panting was quite
loud in her ear, and his back was quite sweaty from his
exertions in this tropical heat. Reaching down under her
with his arms, he clutched her buttocks one in each hand,
pulling himself into her harder until their flesh was slapping
together where they joined.

Then he was going full force, thrusting hard into her,
unstoppable. She felt well and truly impaled, and as helpless
as going on a Nantucket Sleighride.

He completed the last few jerky movements of his hips, then
rolled off her to lie on his back, staring at the ceiling and
catching his breath again.

Mary closed her legs, feeling sticky and a little tender.

Was that it?

“You didn’t come?” he wanted to know.

“No.”

“That’s odd. Usually I can make a woman come.”

She didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything.

He snuggled closer, holding her hand in his.

“Oh, well. We can try again later. Maybe I need to lick you
for longer.”

Maybe.

Anyway, they did try again later, and he did lick for longer.
But Mary was trying too hard, and just felt herself tightening
up inside. They screwed a second time. She wasn’t as turned
on as the first one, and really just lay back and left him
to it until he was done. She sensed that he was a bit
disappointed by her lack of responses.

They dozed for a bit, then he got up and dressed again. She
put on a nightie. He sat on the edge of the bed for another
few minutes, holding her hand.

“Thanks Mary. You were every bit as sexy as I thought
you’d be,” he said gallantly.

“You can carve another notch on your gunbelt, then.” She
found herself saying.

“Never! Mary, you are anything but a notch. Unless you
mean top-notch!”

The sound of his jeep receded into the distance.

Mary looked up at the ceiling in the darkness. Oh well, that
was her little adventure then. They say you only regret the
things you haven’t done. At the same time, she didn’t really
feel any overwhelming desire to ever do this again.

Suddenly, for the first time in several years, she found her-
self thinking of Hazel. Now there was a girl who seemed to
enjoy fucking under almost any circumstances. Funny how
people can be so different.

STOP and FAST-FORWARD

John ducked, and the jug she threw smashed against the wall.
Her eldest boy was wide-eyed with horror. The other two
had already run to their rooms, sobbing.

Mary was so furious with him. It had started with something
silly. She had learned how to drive now, and had wanted to
drive back from the river they had picnicked at. He liked
driving too, and thought fair’s fair, it should be my turn.
His dogmatic adherence to principle was driving her nuts. He
got his own way on so many other things, why couldn’t he
give in to her just this once?

Then the kids started reacting, and playing up. They wanted
icecream, they wanted this, they wanted that, they wouldn’t
eat the yummy vegies she’d cooked when they got home. At
her suggestion that they eat it even if she had to ram it down
their throats, John had stepped in and said, “Now dear, I
think you are being unreasonable.”

If any words could anger her more than those, she had yet to
hear them.

“You never back me up! How are we going to raise them
right, if you don’t back me up?”

John refused to yield. In arguments, he had this infuriating
habit of staying so cold-bloodedly rational. Next thing, the
milkjug was history.

Her eldest now retired from the scene of the battle, no doubt
fearing a stray bullet. Mary really wanted to hurt John at
that moment, really rock him back on his heels.

“Anyway, what makes you think you’re so perfect? You’re a
bad parent, and a lousy lover.”

“Had lots of lovers, then, have you?” he riposted, smug in
thinking that he knew the answer to that one.

“I’ve been able to compare. And you stink!”

She blurted it out, knowing it was a secret she should take to
the grave but unable to resist the chance to have a go at him.

“Yeah, right! When? Who?”

His disbelieving tone goaded her into further indiscretion.

“Derek Allen. November 1973. While you were on the boat
to Malaita.”

Well, if she had wanted to rock him back on his heels, it had
worked. John had gone pale, and needed to sit down.

In the ensuing silence, she began to calm down. The full
import of what she’d just said was beginning to register.
She’d just put her whole marriage at risk. She sat too, and
stared out the window. No telling which way he would jump.

He stood suddenly and went down to the basement. He was
gone for several hours. Every so often she would hear the
clink of a spanner or the revving of a power tool, as he
worked on some project or other. She hoped it wasn’t a
gallows.

Later, he returned and sat beside her. The kids were in bed
asleep now.

“Was Derek Allen really a better lover than me?”

“Yes, but only slightly. He used his tongue on me.”

And after that had sunk in:

“Was that the only time?”

“Yes, that was the only time.”

Neither of them ever raised the subject again.

PAUSE and SLOW-FORWARD

Things remained a little cool for a couple of weeks after that
last bust-up. They acted normally around the kids, but were
not affectionate with each other. Then their daughter was
found to have a cyst and needed a minor operation. The
anxiety of that particular drama pushed everything else out of
their minds, and by the time it had been satisfactorily dealt
with, their relationship was back to normal again. Well,
normal enough for sex to become a possibility.

John could be an irritating s.o.b., but there was no denying
that he thought the world of Mary. She often took the
steadfastness of his love for granted, but right now she felt
quite appreciative of it, and of him.

She had also made an intriguing discovery. Putting a packet
of sandwiches into his school satchel one morning, she
glimpsed the cover of a book that was not directly linked to
John’s usual academic interests. It was called “The Joys of
Sex”. She thought this to be such a typical response of his
rational mind; if there’s a problem, then do some research.
She wondered what conclusions he would draw from his
review of the available literature.

Kids asleep, nothing much on television, they had begun to
snuggle. She was still the girl for him, he told her, and
always would be. They retired to their bedchamber, and
began the usual preliminaries.

He spent ages kissing her breasts. He had always been a
confirmed nipple man, and his usual practice was to linger
over her boobs while using his fingers to check down below
if she was ready or not.

But tonight was different. After ministering to her nipples
for a good long while, he left them glistening and erect while
his tongue traced over her midriff and tummy.

He had a long and pointy tongue. Sometimes to amuse the
children he would poke it right out and could make it touch
the tip of his nose. She hadn’t seen anyone else who could
do that. He had hidden talents, her man did! And now that
he appeared to be on a southbound route, she wondered with
anticipation what else he could make it touch.

He progressed to the top of her mound, and began sniffing
and nibbling. Trying it, to see if he would like it, she
presumed. And he must have approved, because he was now
sliding down between her legs and licking at her inner thighs.

He’d never done anything like this before. And she’d have
been shocked if he did, when they were first married. Or
very surprised that he’d even want to. According to her
upbringing, that was an unclean area. But her fling with
Derek had opened her mind to the possibilities. It just
needed some practice, some perseverence!

And she wasn’t about to stop John and question his motives
at this point. All things cum who stand and wait? She hoped
so.

He was flicking up and down her outer lips, teasing the pubic
hair there and making it wet and matted. He was close to the
goal, but not there yet, and her feeling of anticipation was
becoming intense.

The moment arrived, when he started probing at the top of
her cleft. Such a long, pointy tongue, soft and gentle, yet
firm at the same time.

It was starting to feel nice. He was not quite hitting the right
spot, but in the mood she was now in, it seemed he could not
put a foot wrong. So sensitive down there, and so delicious!
She lay back, eyes closed, and decided to enhance her
pleasure by stroking her breasts and rolling her nipples
between thumb and forefinger.

He looked up and saw this, and was momentarily surprised
that she was taking an active part in the proceedings. This
was not usual, and the thought that he was inspiring some
responses acted as a spur to his efforts.

He still hadn’t quite found the spot, and the teasing was
becoming unbearable. She felt she better do something. So
she reached down and used her hands to spread herself,
parting her cleft. He saw the tip of something small and pink
pop up amongst her folds, and he was onto it in a flash.

Oh my GOD!!!

Her hips jumped, and she almost lost her grip upon herself.
It was as if lightning had just tickled her spine.

He took over, using his own hands to spread her and find the
target. She had to grab onto the bed head, as her pelvis
writhed to get more tongue against her.

Then it started. The intensity of feeling had built up until
release now felt inevitable, she was past the point of no
return. Oh please, don’t stop now! She came in a heady rush
of sensation, a level of physical pleasure that she never knew
existed until that moment. Then she was coming back down
from it, and couldn’t bear to have him continue. It was just
too sensitive, every neuron was on full alert. She clamped
her thighs about John’s head to hold him away from her
sodden vulva.

“Wow!” he said. “Was that finally the Big One?”

She just went “Mmmmm … ,” feeling all follollopy and spent,
wrung out like a dishrag.

He had become very turned on by her reactions, and when he
moved up over her to kiss her softly, she felt something
bumping and prodding down there. He slid in easily because
she was so open and wet, and to him it felt better than usual.
Her insides seemed somehow more clingy, more elastic, and
deliciously slick. Sometimes there could be difficulty or
resistance in there, but not this time so he went for it. It
didn’t take him long, and she felt close and tender feelings
for him as he got totally undignified with her. No rational,
dissecting mind was anywhere in sight. She liked being able
to turn him into such a beast.

She lay on her side with her back to him, tucked in like
spoons as he held her in his arms.

“Well?” he said. “Do we have a sex life, or do we have a sex
life?”

“We have a sex life,” she said contentedly.

Yep, he certainly had the makings of talented
tonguemanship. And now at last she knew why people make
all this fuss about orgasms. Tonight had been a step
forward, all right.

Now there were just a couple of other things to sort out in
their relationship. And she’d get to them; give it time …

PAUSE and FAST-FORWARD one last time.

People were still coming to the house. Soon there would not
be room for them all, and some would have to go out into
the garden. Just as well the weather was fine. On every flat
surface there were more plates of scones and trays of quiche
than you could shake a stick at. Her eldest son had just
phoned to say he and his wife would be flying in tomorrow
morning. There had been at least twenty calls from people in
the last hour alone.

She felt empty, numb. Almost in a daze. People talked to
her in low voices, and to each other, mostly talking about
other things. Trying to take her mind off it, and their own
minds too.

When people spoke, she put up a good show of nodding and
going “Mmmm” in all the right places. But she was
thinking back, reviewing things in her mind.

In the last few years, John had got a lot better to live with.
It had taken a long while, though, and took almost a revolution
in their domestic arrangements.

When their children reached the stage of needing to attend
*real* schools and universities, they had returned to their
native country again. There, John discovered the cost of
those years of broken service. Out of the loop for so long,
the best he could manage was occasional relieving teaching.
And snotty Westernized teenagers were a far cry from the
Pacific island students, who would so willingly spend their
vacations making copra to gain the priviledge of an
education.

Mary, on the other hand, began showing an interest in
sculpture. Initially it was because, when gouging holes in a
lump of something or other, she could imagine that it was
John’s head. Very therapeutic. But she got quite good, and
began exhibiting. Then she was invited to be a tutor at an art
college, and after paying her dues for a few years she applied
for, and got, a position as a faculty member.

John took it hard at first, this reversal in their roles.
She was now the main breadwinner, which meant that now *he*
had to ask *her* for money. But she made it easier for him
by putting one quarter of her salary into his bank account
each payday. He felt so useless when out of work, as if he
were on the scrapheap.

But he cashed in his pension fund and bought a yacht. A
small keelboat, it was his pride and joy, and at least three
times a week he would be out on the water in it. Building up
an intimate knowledge of local tides and currents, he took
pride in being able to out-fox racing yachts twice his size.

And their sex had become worth looking forward to, these days.
Another breakthrough for her was getting her tubes tied. The
Pill had never ever quite felt like real protection. It was
as if there was nothing there, and she always felt nervous of
unwanted pregnancy. Nowadays, with her tubes tied, she
could really relax and get into it.

He was also better in conversation. Especially in the last few
months, she really felt that he was listening to her. Not
trying to rationally *solve* whatever problem it was, and
then being unsatisfied if he couldn’t. He seemed to have
finally twigged that, half the time, she just wanted him to
listen to her. And just accept her point of view without
thinking that it had to be debated.

A policeman came to the door, bearing a big plastic bag full
of soaking wet clothes and personal items. John’s Rolex
watch (funny how he never economised on things like that!),
wedding band, and wallet. She didn’t know quite what to do
with the bag, and in the end just left it outside the front door
on the path.

She went into their bedroom, just to escape people for a
while. His pyjamas still lay where he had tossed them on the
floor that morning. She hated it when he always did that.
She picked them up and held them to her face. She could
still smell his smell on them.

As far as anyone could tell, there was nothing that could
have been done. He was always so cautious, and took every
possible safety measure. The weather forecast had not
predicted winds of such magnitude, or from that particular
quarter. It was just a freak. The only way to have avoided
it was by not getting out of bed in the morning. And that
was not his way.

Are you supposed to feel this empty? She felt she should be
showing more emotion than this, but didn’t even feel the urge
to cry. If there was any emotion at all, it was anger.

John, you bloody idiot!

What did you have to go and die for?